Discovering a Need And Filling--Twice--with Digital Strategy School & Doki creator Marie Poulin

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The Nitty Gritty:

  • What is the difference between digital strategy and web design
  • How Marie identified the need for Digital Strategy School
  • How her product Doki has evolved in a market that just keeps getting more crowded

Every small business owner needs to hear Marie Poulin’s confession on this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast.

And I hope when you tune in and listen to her, you will have the courage to ACT. Just jump over whatever barriers—you don’t have a list, your MVP isn’t ready—hold you back. What you actually DO is more important that what you are supposed to do.

Marie is a designer and digital strategist who uses her big-picture thinking to help business owners design and deliver products, services, and experiences that matter. In 2014, she launched Digital Strategy School, an online mentorship program to help designers become digital strategists. She followed that up in 2015 by co-founding Oki Doki to help business owners dream up, create, organize, and launch online programs. Oh, and along the way she and her partner Ben launched Doki, a learning management web app to help sell and deliver those online programs for interactive course creators.

Marie’s “Specialist Generalist” Journey

Turns out Marie’s history of wearing many hats and absorbing whatever she could with each opportunity allowed her to become a “specialist generalist.” She studied graphic design, but learned the ins and outs of web design in her first job at a small design shop when her boss wanted nothing to do with it. After that position, she spent some time freelancing until a company wanted to hire her as a digital strategist. Although within 4 months she determined she didn’t want to work for someone else again, she did learn a tremendous amount about what a digital strategist is and how that role works in a large company.

So, what is a digital strategist? Marie didn’t know either when she took her first job as a digital strategist. Today, she defines it as:

Someone who takes a high level look at a plan for how you will use digital tools to succeed in your online business.

– Marie Poulin

It’s a natural career progression for those who start out as a graphic designer.

Expand Beyond Graphic Design

As Marie continued on her own, she was helping several companies with their entire digital footprint from content marketing to list building in addition to the aesthetics of their brand. She started to notice that some of her graphic design colleagues resisted this trend and were complaining about low rates. In her own business, she was capitalizing and commanding higher rates for digital strategy. After a little strategic Facebook lurking and listening, she realized there was an opportunity to help graphic designers learn how to become digital strategists. Digital Strategy School was born. SPOILER ALERT: Listen carefully for her confession.

Be the Action You Want to See

As is often the case with new products or services, Marie saw the struggles her clients were having with their online courses and knew there was a better way. She and her partner, Ben, began the development process for what would become Doki. In the podcast, she shares the conflict, the process, the uncertainties, the self-doubt, and the learning lessons with taking a new product to market. One thing was consistent: They focused their product decisions on the customer.

It never, ever works the way you expect it to. Jump in and get moving.

– Marie Poulin

Learn more about the Doki development process, the value of talking to others in your space, and what the future holds for Marie and her companies by listening to the full podcast.

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